Are You Doubting Thomas? Or Thomas, the Little Engine That Says: "I Think I Can!"

My hands were trembling so ferociously that I dropped the brush I was trying to use to brush my hair. The dressing room was filled with celebration, and costume changes. I was standing in the back corner, trembling, wishing I had not enrolled for this dance competition. 

Another amateur who was also competing with my pro, burst into the dressing room with her hands held high, announcing: “I crushed it!“ Because I wanted to celebrate her, I stumbled over my panic, and high-fived her, hugged her, jumped up and down with her. I was helping her with her costume change, and hoping she didn’t notice my hands were trembling as I zipped her up from behind. She must’ve caught the panicked look on my face in the mirror, because she turned around and took my hands and said, “You’ve got this!”

I choked back tears, and thought: “That’s easy for you to say, you have been rehearsing with him for over a year, and already knew the basics when you started. I have only been rehearsing a couple of times a week with my pro for the past few months”. All I could do was force a smile and nod for her words of encouragement.

A female Pro, that I recognized from our studio, was also doing a costume change and caught our interaction. She came over and put her hands on my shoulders, smiled at me confidently, and asked me, “Do you believe you can go out there and have a good time and laugh like you do in the studio when you miss steps or make mistakes?“ Although I wasn’t sure what she meant or where she was going, I said, “Yes. I can at least do that.“ Then she said words that I already knew but had never even thought to apply them in that situation, “ Well if you believe you can, then you absolutely will! All the judges are looking for in a newbie is a big smile, enough confidence to laugh at yourself, and you too will crush it!“ 

Now I’d like to ask you:

What do you believe? Because what you believe is the exact direction that your life will take. 

During COVID-19, it is been heart wrenching for me to listen to things that people believe. Things like:

         “My life is over”

         “I will never recover from this financial destruction”

         “I knew I couldn’t trust God”

         “I’d rather be a single than spend one more day cooped up with him/her”

         “My greatest fear that I would always end up alone and lonely is here”

What does the word “belief” mean? One dictionary defines it as:

Confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof.

Isn’t it interesting that it’s not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof. People who must have rigorous proof to believe limit their lives.

I shared this definition of belief with one of my Life Coaches last week who was struggling to believe he could build a viable practice. I told him he simply had to believe that he could accomplish it before any of the strategies I shared with him would be effective. His response, after hearing the definition, was: “No wonder I’ve been mediocre at everything I’ve done in life.” He continued with something applies to many of us: “I have no trouble believing it for other people, but I have big trouble in believing it for myself.”

I shared with him a concept that Tony Robbins shared with us as he trained his first coaching group: “It’s 80% your belief, and 20% the plan, techniques, and strategies that I will teach you:“ I recall he said the thing same thing about financial mastery, emotional mastery, relationship mastery, and many other things.

Perhaps it’s the reason why many people go to training after training, certification after certification, and feel that they still need more. They are likely learning excellent strategies, techniques, and powerful information … but until you believe… All the strategies, plans, and information in the world will not help you.

I am all for continuing education, and I still attend many trainings, including one that I did in the last three days. But without belief, none of what I’ve learned would be helpful for me, nor would it contribute to my success.

Scientific research has a long shown that the highest levels of performance in achievement are directly correlated with high levels of belief. Whether I am teaching my weight loss/lifestyle makeover plan, training and certifying LifeCoaches, or leading workshops… I include a section on belief.

What many people don’t realize is that we all, 100% of us, BELIEVE. But it’s totally up to each of us what we choose to believe.

I have a very old friend (not old in age, old in the length of our friendship) that I’ve had an ongoing conversation with since my early 20s. The conversation began when we were talking about believing in God. He would always say, “I’m baffled how someone as smart as you are can believe in someone or something that you have never seen, and all you have to prove it is a book he supposedly wrote.“

Early on, I asked him what he believed. He said, “I don’t believe in anything I cannot see”. I would challenge him about the wind. “Do you do you believe when we have hurricanes down here on Galveston Bay that the winds are going to blow?” He would say he believed there would be damage, but he didn’t believe in the wind because he could not see it.“

Recently, he called me to see how I was doing with COVID-19. I knew I had my moment. I told him I was fine and asked how he was doing. He texted me a photo of him in his hazmat suit, he told me how he was totally socially isolating except for going out to pick up food at curbside. He went into this long story about how he would not allow the workers to touch his car. He would have them put his bags down and walk away. Then in his hasmat suit, with gloves on and antibacterial wipes, he took every item out of the grocery bags and put them one by one in the back of his thoroughly sanitized SUV.

Then when he arrived home, he would remove his hazmat suit, don a new mask, and fresh pair of gloves. Then he once again wiped down every item as he carried them inside his sanitized kitchen, one by one. Because I’ve known him for over 40 years, I could visualize the scene. I was laughing so hard I had tears.

Then I asked him the critical question, “Have you seen COVID-19?“ He said, “No, I don’t know anyone who has been diagnosed with it, and I’m making sure I don’t it either!“ Still laughing, I said, “I am certain that you will not get it!“

But I could not resist the softball he just threw straight over my plate. I said, “I am convinced that you have not seen COVID-19, but that you believe in COVID-19.” There was a moment of awkward silence… followed by, “I saw on Facebook that you lost your cousin recently. I am so sorry because I know how close you were to him.” I thanked him. 

After another moment of silence, then I said, “I’m assuming that means that you do believe in COVID-19!” We both burst into laughter. It was a moment I’d been waiting for for many, many years. I challenged him with what he could believe for himself, and how his life could go to a whole new level. It was a great moment!

Why did I share that story? Because it’s been a period of time when most of us have believed more in COVID-19 than we have in ourselves.

What we believe absolutely dictates our actions. My friend’s belief in COVID-19 turned him into a hazmat fanatic. (I’m not suggesting that we should not be careful! I’m simply using the example to emphasize belief).

What we believe not only dictates our actions, but it also effects every facet of our lives. Our finances, our faith, our future, our families, our foundations. Every belief we have either provides hurdles and limits us, or removes challenges and inspires us to press through.

When I was a teenager, I heard a message about “Setting your face like flint.” It was based on this Hebrew belief: “Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced (humiliated). Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.”

I learned that the quote actually meant to have unshakable resolve. Flint is an interesting stone because it is sharp enough to be used for weapons. Not only that, but if you strike it correctly, it can start a fire! Since that time, when I need to believe, I imagine setting my face, my belief, and my vision … believing that NOTHING can come against me! Because I have a sharp weapon, and a fire in my belly and a fire on my backside! (If you’re unfamiliar with the fire in the belly in the fire on the backside you can click here to read my blog about it).

You’ve heard story after story where belief overcomes the odds.

Running a four-minute mile was known as “physically impossible.” No one had ever done it. That is, until Roger Bannister ran the miracle mile. Because he BELIEVED he could. 

A double amputee had never competed on “Dancing with the Stars.” But Amy Purdy believed she could, and finished second place with Derek Hough! In one of her performances, a judge said, “you make us all believe that no matter our circumstances, we can begin again anew!” All because she BELIEVED she could!

Martin Luther King, Jr believed that he could make a difference in the racial prejudice movement with nonviolent methods similar to Gandhi’s. No one in their early 30’s had ever won a Nobel Peace Prize. But he believed he could make the difference, and in 1964, his Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to him at age 35 years. 

Research shows that there are four characteristics common to those who have powerful belief systems:

  1. They are not afraid to take action
  2. They have great vision
  3. They possess great strength of character and will
  4. They are powerfully resilient

If you want to know how your beliefs are working for you, examine how fulfilled you are, and how purposefully you are living. If all of that lines up beautifully, you are in great shape. If it falls short of what you might like it to be, I hope you will commit time to examining your beliefs. Likely, most of us will need to press the delete button on some of our beliefs, the edit button on some, the boost button on a few, and “create new” on others.

Your beliefs are truly driving your destiny, your actions, your decisions, and the quality of your life on a daily basis. I tell my clients that if you are not 100% fulfilled, I challenge you to spend more time on your beliefs then you do on Netflix, Facebook (or other social media) or surfing the web. None of those are bad things at all. And consumed in balance for the right purposes, can actually be helpful.

But how much more value for your life, the lives of your children and those you love, if you were to spend much of that time examining your beliefs? We become, and believe, what we consume and who we spend our time with. I hope you will take some time to invest in you by engaging in this process. You deserve it, and those that love you, deserve it too!

Here is an exercise that I train my life coaches to use in helping people just like you make some much-needed updates.

1. Consider where you fit in this proclamation:

Doubters are crushed by adversity.

People with average belief systems can survive adversity.

People with powerful belief systems THRIVE and get stronger in adversity.

 If you are not pleased with where you are, write down where you  are, and where you would like to be! Taking ownership is powerful!

2. Examine where your beliefs came from, and how they got installed. This is not a blame game. Anyone who influenced your belief system was likely doing the best they could. It’s not necessary to list names. But identify groups of people (and/or) that likely contributed to your belief system. (Example: Parents, grandparents, neighbors, school, church, teachers, coaches, after school care workers, etc). Look at those groups. What did they believe? If you are not sure, consider their lives. What you see gives great clues to someone’s beliefs.

3. Complete this little series of sentences to uncover some basic beliefs.

          My finances have always been                                         .

         My relationships are usually                                                       .

         My health is                                                                       .

         Most people see me as                                                      .

         My family believes I am                                                      .

         People who seek help are                                                 .

         When I need to make a decion I usually                                     .

         My spouse or significant other would say I                         .

         God is                                                                                .

         I believe I can become                                                                .

         When under pressure/stress, I think                                  .

         When under pressure/stress, I do                                              .

Just a way to get you examining things that would lead you to your beliefs.

3. Write a D next to those that need to be deleted, an E next to those that need to be edited, a B next to those that needed to be boosted.

4. Update all those beliefs to ones that will be empowering, and launch you into purpose for living.

5. Scramble the old ones. Have some fun. For example, if you had an old belief that you would always work hard and never get ahead financially. You could act like Donald Duck, and in a Donald Duck voice say: “Poor me! I work, work, work! And never get ahead. I’m gonna be broke!” I know, I know. It sounds silly. But if you can do it, you will uproot that belief. I sometimes turn on the song “Achy Breaky Heart” and have people sing their old beliefs to the tune while dancing around.

6. Install the updated or new ones. For example if you changed the belief in #5 to an empowering one, it might be something like this: I will work hard, but I will give 10%, save 10% and I belief I will get great strategies and ideas about how to turn the 80% into 125%! (I use that one because I did that years ago, and then added a new facet to my business that doubled my income)! But to install it after you rewrite it, in my office I turn the volume up on the theme song: “Chariots of Fire.” Then I have people stand tall, and repeat it powerfully until it sinks deep inside.

7. Do a weekly update by examining your fruit. I have a Sunday evening weekly review where I keep a list of beliefs I have challenged; then edited, deleted, boosted or “created new.” I can see clearly whether or not the fruit of my week is pointing to growth from the newly planted root or not.

Your beliefs can:

Send you into funks, or create great joy. The choice is yours.

Your beliefs can:

Lead you into failure, or catapult you into great success. The choice is yours.

Your beliefs can:

Eat away at and destroy your relationships, or inspire greater love and connection then you ever dreamed. The choice is yours.

Your beliefs can:

Undermine you with your doubt or influence you to extraordinary. The choice is yours.

Your beliefs can:

Bankrupt you, or inspire resourcefulness that exceeds your financial needs and desires. The choice is yours.

On May 12, 2015, I walked into my friend’s, Lori Hayner’s studio, You Can Dance DALLAS. I was just curious about Pro-Am competition that she was highlighting that night. Little did I know how many life-changing things would happen as a result of that night.

In August, when I was at my first competition, and was challenged about believing I could go out there with a big smile and have fun… I stepped on to the competition dance floor with much trembling and wobbly knees. As the music started, I won’t repeat what Chad said to me, but I can tell you this, I started laughing so hard (just as I did spending time with him rehearsing in the studio) that I went into auto pilot and nailed it! All because I believed I could! And despite my right wing’s multiple surgeries, casts, and braces for three years, I believe I will dance with my Pro again in competition!

What do you believe that you can do? What do you believe your limit is? The sky? The stars? The moon? The sun? There is no limit!

Don’t be a doubting Thomas. Be Thomas, the little engine that could! I think I can! I THINK I can! I BELIEVE I can!